Answers to some frequently asked questions about the excavation:
Why is the dig taking place?
This is the first stage of the redevelopment of the Cathedral Plaza area. Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund, the owners of the Cathedral Plaza shopping centre, are working with Worcestershire County Council and Worcester City Council to transform the area with the introduction of a pedestrianised square. The existing roundabout will be removed.
These works will affect archaeological remains which survive underneath the roundabout, identified during a small trial investigation in 2003.
This excavation will identify and record the archaeological remains that will be affected by the redevelopment works.
Who is doing the digging?
Professional archaeologists from Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service's archaeological field section are running and conducting the excavation.
Who is funding it?
The excavation is being jointly funded by Salmon Harvester Opportunity Fund (the developers), Worcester City Council and Worcestershire County Council.
Where can I find out more about the redevelopment?
There are more details, including news of forthcoming retail outlets, on the project website:
What do you expect to find?
Prior to redevelopment in the 1960s the site area formed part of Lich Street, a medieval thoroughfare running east to west from the south end of the High Street to Friar Street.
Before the construction of Lich Street in the 13th century, the area probably formed part of the lay cemetery associated with the Cathedral.
The area also falls within the historic core of both the Anglo-Saxon 'burh' (fortified town) and the earlier Roman town.
How deep will you go?
In urban areas like the centre of Worcester, which has been a focus of settlement for over 2000 years, archaeological deposits can extend many metres below the ground surface. This excavation, though, will not try to excavate all of the archaeological deposits on the site, but only those in the upper layers which will be affected by the redevelopment of the area. Archaeological excavation is a destructive process: a site can only be excavated once, and if archaeological remains are not under threat, we often prefer to leave them undisturbed. Where we encounter features like cellars and wells we sometimes have to excavate them fully even if they are below the level that will be affected. This is because they were often filled with loose rubble and demolition material, and this needs to be removed so that the ground can be made stable.
Could you leave the remains uncovered so they are permanently on display?
We are often asked this question! Although it can be done in some circumstances, it isn't usually advisable because archaeological remains can deteriorate very quickly when exposed to weathering. Even when protected by a glass covering, damp and biological activity can be a serious problem. So, although it seems strange, burying remains is often the best way to protect them.
We'll add to these as the dig progresses. If there's anything you'd like to know, leave a comment below and we'll do our best to answer it!